It’s the ultimate fantasy: eschewing the budget, the seating charts, and the year-long planning process for a wedding in Vegas. Just grab your groom, hop on a plane, and go, right?
Not quite. There are actually more requirements for getting hitched in Las Vegas than you might realize.
What’s the paperwork situation?
First things first: you still need a license. No more than 60 days before your wedding, you and your husband need to fill out a marriage application for the state of Nevada. Las Vegas weddings are totally legal, so of course, there’s paperwork.
Then, you and your fiancée both need to go in person to the Clark County Marriage License Bureau to turn in your application and receive a marriage license. A marriage license in Las Vegas is $77, and they only take cash or check, so come prepared. They’re only open until midnight, so all of those spur-of-the-moment 2 AM weddings you see on TV? Not so much. You also need a valid ID, which could be a driver’s license, a US issued ID card, a passport, or a military identification card. Read more about how to get your marriage license here.
Do we need to book in advance?
This is totally up to you and your groom. Vegas is famous for holding weddings that were decided upon an hour before. If that’s your route, be prepared to wait in line—Vegas wedding chapels do a lot of business!
However, although the stereotypical Chapels of Love are still around, many couples are now opting for Vegas as a destination locale. That means choice venues and vendors can book up quickly. However, there’s an abundance of wedding vendors in Vegas—you can literally hire a photographer the day of your wedding, in some cases, or walk into a chapel and get married on the spot, provided you have your license.
If you plan on bringing a lot of guests, you’ll want to book a hotel chapel. Many of these have all-inclusive packages that include a photographer, florist, and musicians. Some even provide attire for the bride and groom. Hotel buffets are also a great way to feed your guests.
Here’s an extensive list of potential Las Vegas wedding venues, featuring everything from museums to hotels to mansions.
Will we save money?
It depends. A quickie Vegas wedding may sound like a nice way to save a buck, but in reality, Las Vegas weddings can be just as pricey as something local. If you’re getting married at an all-inclusive hotel, for instance, the packages don’t come cheap, since they include wedding coordination services and a variety of vendors. In addition, hotel stays in Vegas are notoriously expensive. If you’re trying to save some cash, plan a wedding during the off-season (winter) and fly on weekdays.
When is the best time to get married in Vegas?
Again, the winter is ideal, not just for price but for weather. Las Vegas is in the desert, and deserts are hot. Ergo, July and August are not fun times to be running around the city! Spring and fall are beautiful in Vegas, but things will be more expensive and extra crowded—just something to consider. While average venues offer a discount for holiday weddings, since not many people are aiming to get married on Memorial Day or New Year’s, the opposite is true of Vegas—holidays are the most popular wedding weekends due to traveling tourists. Lines at most chapels will be ridiculously long during the holidays, and many hotels will be full. Airline tickets will be through the roof as well. Consider a different weekend if you want to save time and money.
What are the perks of a Vegas wedding?
Las Vegas weddings can either be spur-of-the-moment or an elegant, planned-out affair. It will be a fun story to tell for years to come, and destination weddings are always a blast for your guests. Depending on the situation, you may be able to save some money and stress. Plus, Vegas is a great honeymoon destination—there’s beautiful spas, gondola rides, amazing shows, and delicious restaurants. What happens in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas; you’ll have memories and stories to last a lifetime!
What about the downsides?
Las Vegas weddings aren’t quite as cheap as you might think—if you aren’t careful, you could end up blowing your budget. You’ll also have to be flexible with your date and you may not have complete control over every aspect, like your bouquet or officiant. At the end of the day, a Vegas wedding is definitely for a certain kind of bride—it may or may not be your style, and that’s ok!